Essay / Kerry Cunningham / September 2016

What It’s Like to Sorta Work at a Music Festival

 

This summer, I gave out Crispy M&M’s to rockstars.

Whoa, that sounded cool.

I worked at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, handing out free bags of candy to people all day for three days. Pitchfork Music Festival is in its 11th year, and this summer’s show at Union Park showcased both local and up-and-coming acts on three stages—FKA Twigs, Sufjan Stevens, Blood Orange, and tons of others.

How was I blessed with this job? I’ll let you in on a little secret. Every single event in Chicago is run by people ages 25 to 35. My cousin happens to be of the many 25 to 35 year olds living in Chicago. My cousin loves me, so she got me this super cool job.

Bags went fast because who doesn’t like free Crispy M&M’s? Do you know who LOVES free Crispy M&M’s? Rockstars. They freaking love them. Why wouldn’t they? Everyone expects celebs like them to pay big bucks for anything they buy. Why not eat some free candy while people keep thinking that?

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In order to receive my boxes of Crispy M&M’s, I had to go backstage to get them before going back out into the festival again. The backstage area was gated off, with a tiny older woman and a guy with orange Macklemore hair guarding the area. I happened to be walking behind one of the main stages when Carly Rae Jepsen—of “Call Me Maybe” fame—and her posse chose to walk there, as well. I needed to think of a way to converse with said rockstar, so I put a box in her face. “Crispy M&M’s?” Genius. Carly Rae Jepsen grabbed a bag and thanked me. Pretty cool, I know.

How did I know we were friends after that, you ask? Good question. The next day, I was in the same area I was in the day before. Suddenly, a voice shouts, “Crispy M&M girl!” It was Carly Rae Jepsen. She knew my name!!!!! I gave her some more M&M’s.

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You’re probably wondering if I gave M&M’s to any other rockstars. Of course I did. A homie by the name of Chance the Rapper decided to surprise everyone at Jeremih’s performance, and the only way for him to leave the performance was to go backstage! And who was there to greet him with some tasty Crispy M&M’s? ‘Twas I.

“Chance, want any free Crispy M&M’s?” We were on a first name basis. “Of course I do, Kerry. Hand ‘em over! You’re the best M&M girl ever.” Chance didn’t say that, but it sounds like something he would’ve said if we were friends. He’s so cool.

I know that’s only two rockstars that I gave free candy to, but that’s already TWO more than you have. If you’d like to know more about my time working at a music festival, I’d love to chat. I’ll be in my room eating Crispy M&M’s.

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